Top court steps up to end at­tacks on doc­tors

Se­vere pun­ish­ments to be dealt for vi­o­lent med­i­cal dis­putes to curb ‘ab­nor­mal trend’

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By SHAN JUAN shan­juan@chi­nadaily.com.cn

As China tar­gets a grow­ing trend of med­i­cal dis­putes, some of which in­volve se­ri­ous vi­o­lence against physi­cians, a new ini­tia­tive was launched on Thurs­day to em­pha­size that such at­tacks on doc­tors will bring se­vere pun­ish­ment.

Five agencies, in­clud­ing the Supreme People’s Court, the Min­istry of Pub­lic Se­cu­rity and the Na­tional Health and Fam­ily Plan­ning Com­mis­sion, jointly is­sued the no­tice that aims to bring stronger pun­ish­ment for vi­o­lent crimes in­volv­ing med­i­cal dis­putes and main­tain the or­der of med­i­cal prac­tice.

The lat­est ini­tia­tive comes af­ter a se­ries of se­ri­ous med­i­cal dis­putes, some of which have in­volved fa­tal at­tacks against physi­cians.

“The Supreme People’s Court will up­hold the law while han­dling cases in­volv­ing med­i­cal dis­putes and se­verely pun­ish those who se­ri­ously harm or even kill doc­tors over ground­less as­sump­tions,” pledged Sun Jun­gong, the spokesman of the Supreme Court at a reg­u­lar news brief­ing.

He also high­lighted four ma­jor cases re­lated to med­i­cal dis­putes that the court had han­dled, in­clud­ing two that in­volved doc­tors killed by an­gry pa­tients.

The two vic­tims were proved to be to­tally in­no­cent and their treat­ments in the dis­puted cases were deemed ap­pro­pri­ate, Sun said.

“The two crim­i­nals were there­after given cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to the Chi­nese As­so­ci­a­tion of Med­i­cal Doc­tors, China re­ported at least 10 cases of se­ri­ous med­i­cal dis­putes in Fe­bru­ary alone.

Zhang Yan­ling, who heads the as­so­ci­a­tion, said the ris­ing med­i­cal dis­putes were a re­flec­tion of in­creas­ing so­cial ten­sion amid so­cial and eco­nomic changes.

“The lat­est no­tice would help curb this ab­nor­mal trend with the full force of the law,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to the no­tice, those mak­ing open in­sults and threats to med­i­cal work­ers will also be pun­ished.

Like­wise, those who carry weapons such as guns, ex­plo­sives or toxic or ra­dioac­tive ma­te­ri­als with the in­ten­tion of harm­ing med­i­cal staff will be pun­ished.

Ad­di­tion­ally, said Sun, “We will han­dle timely cases in­volv­ing med­i­cal dis­putes ac­cord­ing to laws and reg­u­la­tions and pro­vide guid­ance for such law­suits.”

Reg­u­lar com­mu­ni­ca­tion and in­for­ma­tion ex­changes will be fur­ther beefed up, with me­di­a­tion or­ga­ni­za­tions avail­able to avert po­ten­tial vi­o­lence, he said.

Ac­cord­ing to Guo Yan­hong, deputy di­rec­tor of the med­i­cal ad­min­is­tra­tion bureau, by the end of last year, China had set up more than 3,000 such or­ga­ni­za­tions to help han­dle med­i­cal dis­putes.

More than 50,000 cases were dealt with last year, she said.

As a pre­emp­tive ap­proach, more than 6,000 large pub­lic hos­pi­tals have also in­tro­duced li­a­bil­ity in­sur­ance pro­grams, she said.

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